Resource optimization and economies of scale with 4G LTE
As public safety budgets are slashed, training programs cut back, and in some cases fire and police agencies being shut down entirely, many municipalities are approaching a breaking point. The good news in this scenario is that strategic application of attention and resources toward deploying mission-critical public safety mobile broadband can enable solutions that address those issues for many years to come.
“We’re going to be able to catch perpetrators before they reoffend. We’re going to be able to better supervise people out on parole. Nowadays in California, if you have a parolee and you don’t have adequate state funds to supervise them, you have an ankle bracelet on them. Well, that is something we’d be able to track over a public safety broadband network. All of a sudden, if you have a sexual assault in the community you can bring up the ankle bracelets in that area, and you can determine with GPS coordinates if any of those devices were there in the area of the crime at the time.”
Interoperability is Crucial
Parow says also that in today’s economic climate, it has become imperative that all the public safety disciplines work efficiently together. To do otherwise can not only cost money, it can cost lives.
“Today, the fire service is not just about fire,” says Parow. “We usually have a shared command post and we have police, fire, department of public works, emergency management people, and others who come to any sort of large-scale call you have right now. To be able to have all public safety talk with each other on one radio instead of the six radios that I have in my command vehicle right now, it just so much more efficient.”
“You’re not just talking about public safety communications — you’re talking about the way we do business, the way we live,” says Chief Moore.
More Capability Equals Time and Money Saved
“Cell phones aren’t considered mission-critical equipment, but the next thing I know after I sent him around back, my phone is making a funny noise in my pocket — telling me I have a text message. I look at it and it was from my deputy. He had taken a picture of the back of the building and he said, ‘Here’s what you have.’ There’s no reason he couldn’t have sent me video—he just chose to send me a picture — but that’s what we’re talking about when we talk about the future of this stuff. We’re talking about communicating with somebody in a remote command post nearby. I’m talking about when you have a HAZMAT team responding on scene and sending real-time, live streaming video to someone across the country at EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in Washington DC. The head of operations can just send streaming video back to show them exactly what’s going on. That’s where we’re headed. If you look at the technology in the private sector, a lot of it is already there.”
Chief Moore argues that with the right communications technology in place you can do things quickly that otherwise would be incredibly time consuming. Moore offers the example of a traffic stop in which the driver possesses no identification documents, and appears to be providing a false name. The driver says he has a license, but there’s no record of it under the name he’s provided. Each time he’s asked his date of birth, he gives a different answer. He’s trying to conceal his identity, and the officer doesn’t know why.
“The only way you’re going to find out why they’re lying to you is to take them down to the station—that’s a three-hour proposition for a traffic citation but you don’t know what you don’t know. You can associate a cost with that.
“Now, with mobile identification and broadband,” Moore continues, “you take a thumbprint or a thumb-plus-one, and within a matter of 45 seconds you’ve identified this person, run them to determine if they have warrants, and you’re done. Now, think about the countless number of times this scenario happens. You take that three-hour period of time you just saved and multiply that by the number of actual incidents like it, and you’re talking tens of millions of dollars saved.”
The Time is Now
Chief Moore says, “The time is now. If public safety doesn’t jump on board, the cost factor is going to be two or three times higher. If we’re able to get devices manufactured that have the same chipsets, the cost-per-device goes down significantly. If we wait it’s only going to cost us more. It’s inevitable that we’ll have this technology.”
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